Friday, November 10, 2023

Ford Captures All Three 2023 NASCAR Championships

Ford Captures All Three 2023 NASCAR Championships

Ryan Blaney (Cup); Cole Custer (Xfinity); Ben Rhodes (Trucks)

Ryan Blaney Wins Cup Series Title


Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney drove Mustang to its second straight NASCAR Cup Series title by winning the championship race at Phoenix Raceway, capping a weekend that saw Ford claim all three of NASCAR’s major touring titles for the first time in its history.


Blaney got the job done by finishing second in the race, and beating fellow Championship 4 drivers Kyle Larson and William Byron, who ended up right behind in third and fourth, respectively.


The race came down to a 31-lap dash to the finish. Blaney restarted sixth while Larson was third and Byron fifth, but the Team Penske driver passed Byron three laps later and then battled Larson for the next eight circuits before finally getting past him on lap 292 of the 312-lap event.


From that point on, he was able to maintain his advantage and finish second to race-winner Ross Chastain.


“I didn't want a caution,” said Blaney after he passed Larson for the championship lead. “Once I got to the white, I felt pretty good about it, but it's just about getting there and finishing it off.”


Cole Custer Wins NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship


The third time was the charm for Cole Custer, who won his first series championship after finished second in his previous two attempts. This marks the seventh NXS championship for Ford and second in the last four years after Austin Cindric won in 2020. Ford’s other champions include: Greg Biffle (2002), Carl Edwards (2007), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-12), and Chris Buescher (2015).


This marks the second time Stewart-Haas has won an NXS championship with Ford after Custer delivered the owner’s title in 2018. This continues a streak that has seen Mustang win a driver’s or owner’s championship in all but three seasons since coming to the series full-time in 2011.


“I thought it was over. I mean, I went from first to third and I was able to shift the car all night and the Doug Yates horsepower worked out and pulled me off the corner. I can’t believe we won that thing after going back to third on that restart, but I can’t say enough about these guys. I mean, we started the year off and it was a struggle and we kind of had to dig deep with each other and really talk about how to get better. To see how much this group has grown through the year and to be a part of something, I knew I wanted to work with JT. I knew that he was the guy that could make it happen and I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else. I just can’t thank Gene Haas enough. He’s given me opportunities and I wouldn’t be here without him. I can’t thank him enough, and Ford Performance, Haas Automation, everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s awesome to bring one back to Stewart-Haas right now. Man, I’m gonna enjoy this. I’ve been waiting to hear Wayne on the radio for a few times now, so I’m pumped.”


Ben Rhodes Drives F-150 To Second Straight Truck Series Championship


Ford Performance and ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes claimed his second Truck Series championship in the last three years, and the second consecutive for Ford, with a hard-earned fifth-place finish in the No. 99 Ford F-150 Cautions in a race filled with restarts, retribution, extra laps and high-action Friday night at Phoenix Raceway.


The evening that featured 12 caution periods, 29 laps of overtime competition and plenty of high-stakes racing – especially among the four championship contenders that earned a chance to settle the season title.


“I can’t even believe it,” the 26-year-old Kentucky native Rhodes said of his dramatic title win. “It’s just so awesome, man. To go 25 laps into overtime, do you know what that feels like? It’s crazy. I didn’t think we were going to make it. I thought we were going to pop a tire, that anything that could have gone wrong was going to go wrong. Grant [Enfinger] almost got me. But hats off to him, he ran a great race. I wouldn’t want to race against anybody else for the championship. He raced me clean, and I respect the heck out of him for it.”



source: Ford Performance Media

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